Prayer is a topic that can be challenging for many. I have read several books on prayer and with them different viewpoints on the purpose of prayer in general. Prayer is a topic which is both encouraging and discouraging at the same time. Many of us want to learn how to be more effective in our prayer lives, but at the same time when we begin to read about how to improve our prayer lives we sense how inadequate we actually are in our current prayer lives.
Anne Graham Lotz, the daughter of famed evangelist Billy Graham, has written a book based on the prayer life of the prophet Daniel, specifically framing the book around Daniel’s prayer in Daniel chapter 9. Overall the book focuses on prayer centered on national revival.
The first section of the book lays the groundwork of Lotz discovering the principles of The Daniel Prayer, and her personal journey into her discoveries and utilization of these principles. Section 2 deals with Pleading in Prayer, discussing the earnestness of prayer, and not simply to ask and then turn away to other ventures. In section 3 of the book, Lotz discusses the topic of Prevailing in Prayer, in which she discusses the timing of how and when God answers prayers.
While I strongly dislike trying to teach formulaic prayer styles or patterns, Lotz has done a nice job of presenting a prayer strategy rather than a prayer formula. She has presented principles for prayer, and developed their presentation using the Bible as a basis. For example, in section 4 she presents patterns for prayer: A Prayer that is Centered, A Prayer that is Compelled, A Prayer that is Confident, A Prayer that is Contrite, etc. With each principle, she presents a passages from the Bible, then gives an example of the type of prayer to which she is referring.
All in all, this is a good book in helping focus one’s prayer life. My views on prayer in general do differ than Lotz in some places in this book. Books that hold the premise of “claiming the promises of God” as if we have to hold God to these promises or remind Him of them, seem to fall short of recognition of His Character. Prayer is much more about acknowledging our dependency on God in all areas of our lives and aligning our will, motives, and perspectives with His as Christ’s character is formed with us in increasing measure. I do however think Lotz does well though to center prayer on trusting God. For this reason, I cannot give my highest review, but I do believe when read with a discerning heart, readers will find many beneficial pointers and principles to help them in their prayer lives.
My overall rating for this book is 3 stars which means “I liked it”; not loved it or a raving fan about it though.
While prevailing prayer doesn’t necessarily mean that you literally draw a circle or stay in a place of prayer 24/ 7, it does mean that your spirit holds a position of prayer before God until an answer is given. It means you wrap your heart and mind around whatever it is you are asking of God until He answers. On the one hand , if we keep repeating the same prayer over and over , it implies we lack the faith to believe God has heard and that He will answer. On the other hand, having prayed once, we can’t just walk away from it until it’s answered.We need to pray like Elijah—praying repeatedly until we have the assurance God has heard and will answer— then we thank Him by faith for the answer even before it comes, and rise up from our knees.
The Daniel Prayer is not a legalistic exercise where you and I prove to God we are somehow spiritual enough, worthy enough, humble enough, desperate enough, sincere enough to earn an answer. God looks on the heart of the one who is praying. He is moved by our trust in Him. Trust in Him alone. He is not an “add-on” God. As we pray we cannot have several options up our sleeve. We can’t have a Plan A, and if that doesn’t work a Plan B, then we tack prayer on as though God is our fallback plan.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes in exchange for a fair and honest review of the material contained. A positive review was not required and all thoughts on the book are my own.